2 days after the free EP “50 Shades of Gay” by Junksista to celebrate the international day against homophobia and transphobia, we can present you an interview with yet another LBGT minded duo, namely Erasure.
(Interview by Janos Janurik) I can clearly remember the first time I met Erasure live as it was on my 18th birthday. OK, actually it was a one-sided meeting only because it happened at their Budapest concert in 1992 and I stood among the public with other fans and they were on stage performing live.
I was so impressed of what I saw and heard on that evening that I even wrote a fan-review on it – although I kept it in my drawer. Approx. 10 years later I started freelancing for various music sites – among others for example I was the editor of the Hungarian Mute microsite. I did several articles on Erasure and in March 2005 I finally got the opportunity to meet my heroes in Munich and I interviewed them face-to-face.
I have kept contact with their management/record company and our relationship slowly became amicable. I still help their work silently with my promo articles and it was evident for me that I would get in touch with them again to do another interview on the release of their new album “World Be Gone”. Maybe I have a soft spot for Erasure but “World Be Gone” is really one of their bests – both musically and lyrically. Let`s take a look in the minds of Mr. Vincent Clarke and Mr. Andrew Bell and let them tell us about their past, present and future…
SL: You recently had an important milestone in your career. You celebrated a big anniversary to mark 30 years of being together as a pop-duo. Have you ever thought you`d come this far? Are there any unfulfilled wishes in your life?
V: It would have been impossible to imagine (in the 80’s), that we’d still be around after 30 years. As for ambitions there’s just that elusive ‘perfect pop song’.
A: I didn’t really think about how long we’d last, whether it be 30 or 50 years to be honest I take each day as it comes I was just very honoured to be able to work with Vince Clarke in the first place! I think it is kismet & we were meant to be a song writing partnership. Sometimes I wish we had a bit more recognition within the industry but it’s not absolutely necessary!
SL: Sometimes you’re just ranked as a typical 80s band although your career mainly happened in the 90s and in the `00s – and you`re still present in today`s music business. Do you think radio stations are responsible for that? Do you get enough airplay nowadays?
V: The radio station ‘business’ is about playing the latest and newest. That’s totally understandable. More airplay would be nice, but that’s not the way of the world.
A: I think pop is mainly for teenagers so you are very lucky if you manage to keep some of those initial fans with you, for me being a gay man seems to keep you forever young so I don’t tend to think about things in a traditional way.
As for the radio etc it’s all up to them & it’s all very corporate & centralised I don’t need to be categorised in any way & take no notice any way!
SL: Do your supporting gigs with Robbie Williams have anything in common with making your music known for a wider public, with the newer “pop-kids”? How did you get to know each other with Robbie? What are your expectations of this tour?
V: We met Robbie once, when Take That first started their careers at a TV show in the UK. This tour is a fantastic opportunity for us to remind people of our music… I’m not sure Robbie’s fans are ‘kids’ anymore?
A: I think Robbie & his wife maybe slight fans, I like him & it’s a good opportunity for us to play to a million people without having to do 75 shows!
SL: There is a new Erasure album coming out on Mute on 19th May 2017. It`s titled “World Be Gone”. The title is not too optimistic but its content is full of hope – except for a few parts. How can you find optimism in the most unlikely circumstances?
V: I believe good and bad comes in waves. I’m a naturally optimistic person. I have to be, especially as I have an 11 year old son.
You have to otherwise you might as well pack it all in.
SL: Some of your new tracks like “Still It`s Not Over”, “Oh What A World” – a sinister protest song – or “Lousy Sum Of Nothing” are focusing on current political topics and news. Although you already had some political lyrics in the 80s in songs like “The Circus” or “Hallowed Ground”, these were not themes typical of yours. Have you felt the necessity to write about actual policy issues now?
V: There is so much weirdness going on right now that we felt compelled to reflect on that for this new record.
A: That’s just how the songs came out we weren’t thinking ‘oh let’s be political now’. I think we just wanted to do something with meaning.
SL: I think that love is still the greatest power on the planet for Erasure – and it`s good so. Are you romantic or realistic in your personal lives? Do you still believe in the big love which could heal the world?
V: I think that most people are basically good people. I also think ‘love’ is something you do, rather than something you say.
I believe in love both personal & universal.
SL: The new album contains rather calming music and its mood is rather balladistic and gospel-tinged than techno-disco. It goes well with its current themes and it`s heart-warming to hear Andy singing like that – very soulful and uplifting – underpainted by Vince`s rather vintage analogue synths. Was it on purpose to record a calmer album than the previous two which were filled with catchier dance tunes and hi-NRG party music?
V: We deliberately set out to make a more reflective album. We wanted the album to be ‘vocal heavy’ but musically minimal, harking back (a little) to ‘Erasure’ the album.
SL: The lead single of your new album (“Love You To The Sky”) is one of your best songs from the last decade, in my opinion. It`s a perfect love song with positive lyrics and euphoric melody, that brings us up to the sky. If I could choose the next 2-3 singles, then songs like “Be Careful What You Wish For!” – my absolute favourite from the whole album -, “World Be Gone” and “Sweet Summer Loving” would be among the chosen ones. And which ones are your personal favourites?
V: “World Be Gone” is my absolute fave. 🙂
A: I have the same taste as you those 4 would be excellent choices.
SL: Your fans around the world are hoping on more headline tour dates. Will there be any opportunities to see you – without Robbie – on tour later this year or early next year?
V: We’ll be touring extensively, on our own, in 2018.
SL: There are rumours about the making of a tribute musical on Erasure, which is called “Oh L`Amour”. Have you heard anything about it? Would it be a great honour to your work if it took place / became a reality sometime?
V: There are a couple of ideas floating around at the moment and of course, we’re thrilled… Let’s see what happens.
A: I have heard it & it’s amazing I really hope it comes to fruition.
The new Erasure album “World Be Gone” is out on Mute Records 19th May 2017 and is available to buy on CD, ltd edition orange vinyl, regular vinyl & cassette.